United States: Georgia
Hill, Kertscher & Wharton forges extremely close relationships with its clients. When one of its 15 attorneys wins a mandate from a new client, they take the time to familiarise themselves with the company’s long-term business objectives and market conditions – and they never let up; five years down the line, their eagerness, enthusiasm and responsiveness will be the same as it was on day one. Steven Hill and John North exemplify this approach. A co-founder of the firm, Hill has handled over 100 patent infringement disputes in his time, one of which involved the assertion of a staggering 25 patents against five clients; his ability to handle involute, multi-pronged matters such as this sets him apart from the crowd. North is also a big-league player, with bundles of experience handling high-value pharmaceutical cases.
The exacting standards of quality that characterise Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s IP service are apparent in every single document its lawyers devise; each is meticulously researched, commercially oriented and written in engaging, straightforward language. On the prosecution side, Dean Russell and Tina McKeon have a reputation for skillfully fine-tuning applications to steer clients clear of their competitors. The quick-thinking, academically astute Russell is a strategist par excellence, while McKeon knows how to get things done at the USPTO; she is a beacon for life sciences companies. In litigation, James Ewing, Mitchell Stockwell and Wab Kadaba pick up the bat. With a profound appreciation for the sort of legal help entrepreneurs need to get their businesses going, Ewing is a favourite among start-ups. Stockwell is a “tremendous litigator” whose lines of reasoning have stumped countless foes. Chair of the IP practice, Kadaba protects the interests of his distinguished software and telecoms clientele as staunchly and transparently as anyone; they know he will be totally honest about the likely outcomes of their battles and as a result, can make well-founded long-term plans.
Home to a panoply of lawyers with first-chair trial experience, as well as scientifically minded technical specialists of the first order, King & Spalding boasts one of the most impressive and comprehensive patent practices in Georgia. Setting an example on the litigation side is the “excellent” Holmes Hawkins III, who is a master when it comes to knife-edge cases. Extremely articulate, he can weave a compelling narrative out of even the most unwieldy set of facts. Lately, BASF sought his support in its battle against Enthone in the district court for the Northern District of New York plus parallel inter partes review proceedings; such meaty, outsize matters characterise his workload. Scott Petty and Rebecca Kaufman are the brightest stars on the prosecution side. Business-minded to the last, Petty endeavours to step into his client’s shoes and keeps their commercial objectives front and centre in his thinking at all times. Kaufman is in hot demand among start-ups in the life sciences realm, owing to her excellent academic background in molecular biology and her experience setting up Georgia Tech/Emory University’s biotechnology incubator EmTech Bio.
Lee & Hayes offers the full spectrum of patent services, but in Georgia really comes into its own when things turn contentious. The side’s seasoned lawyers have seen and done it all in the courtroom; the tricks of opposing counsel never catch them off guard. Distinctive features of the team’s counsel include rigorous analysis, business intelligence and a willingness to push the boat out and try new things. Having worked in-house for a distinguished name, William Dyer III understands the importance of writing in a way that can be easily digested by the C-suite and only pursues a case when it makes commercial sense. He is widely respected in the US legal community and has been appointed special master in federal courts multiple times. Bruce Bower is another enforcement maven who delivers advice that is finely calibrated to give clients the edge today and tomorrow.
The pragmatic, proactive lawyers at Meunier Carlin & Curfman work around the clock to stamp out potential problems before they become serious. Clients’ markets are monitored closely, communication channels are kept open at all times, filing strategies are exquisitely mapped out and cases are cleverly staffed in an effort to keep things affordable. Miles Hall is a hands-on, forward-looking practitioner who has represented a slew of early and growth-stage biomedical and medical device companies, building their portfolios brick by brick. Dynamic litigators Anthony Askew and Stephen Schaetzel swing into action when the temperature rises. In his illustrious career, which spans over half a century, Askew has tried cases in all manner of venues, including the Supreme Court, and served as the special assistant attorney general for the State of Georgia on IP matters. He is a lodestar for up-and-coming practitioners. Schaetzel remains an ever-popular choice. He is a “top lawyer” who always has a clever strategy up his sleeve.
With a reputation for taking on, and winning, the toughest cases, Paul Hastings is a compelling choice when the courtroom looms; in particular, the firm has a superb track record in Federal Circuit Section 101 invalidity challenges. Of late, it has also been blazing a trail in the post-grant area – in the last two years it has been involved in more post-grant filings than any other full-service firm. The Paul Hastings pros never fail to render tenacious advocacy, unflagging commitment and a laser focus on client business objectives; moreover, while life sciences is unquestionably its strongest province, it has the wherewithal to handle mattes of all technical stripes. William Whitaker is the first port of call for many interested parties.
Helping universities to secure potentially lucrative patents is a forte for Smith, Gambrell & Russell. The nimble-witted, versatile and closely cooperative team appreciates that each client comes with its own challenges and that at universities inventors will frequently be professors, whose natural instinct is to try and get their research published – something that may be beneficial to their academic career in the short-term, but which could lead to inadvertently giving away a valuable IP right. Gregory Kirsch or Dale Lischer can be relied on to provide rock-solid counsel that stands the test of time. Kirsch has served as the University of Iowa Research Foundation’s outside counsel for over two decades and his technical knowledge is unassailable. The personable, unstuffy Lischer makes things as seamless and comfortable as possible for clients every step of the way. Having been in the game since 1973, he has proven himself on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide and developed razor-sharp business instincts. New recruit William Long has recently been turning heads in the Hatch-Waxman space with a string of athletic showings on behalf of household names.
Business law firm Troutman Sanders serves up iron-wrought IP counsel that consistently hits the spot. Knowing that the loss of even one patent can break a business, its indefatigable, attentive lawyers go over and above to meet client needs. Nothing is left unattended and emails are responded to at lightning speed. Having worked with a myriad of start-ups and Fortune 500 companies, Ryan Schneider is the man to go to for prosecution issues. His applications are as deftly drafted as any. When there is a mounting infringement threat, Douglas Salyers takes control. Having spent 30 years at the IP coalface, he has a sixth sense for when to take the fight to competitors with full force and when to settle.
Equipped with 27 offices on both sides of the Atlantic – 19 in the United States, eight in the United Kingdom – Womble Bond Dickinson approaches things from an international perspective. Its far-ranging service menu takes in everything from prosecution and portfolio management through to enforcement; nothing is beyond this team. Strategic whizz Louis Isaf is a font of filing wisdom with an unsurpassed understanding of the manufacturing space. James Vaughan and William Ragland are crack litigators who each have over 30 years of experience. Having worked as a mining engineer, Vaughan is alert to the various pressures that clients face and never plies them with unnecessary legalese. Ragland’s on-point analysis and polished courtroom performances make him a formidable foe.
Other recommended experts
The multi-talented Nigamnarayan Acharya at Lewis Brisbois is equally proficient at procuring and enforcing patents. When it comes to drone technologies there are few individuals who can boast comparable knowledge to that of Morris Manning & Martin’s filing ace John Fry. A celebrated trial lawyer, Christopher Green at Fish & Richardson is prized for his courtroom eloquence; software cases see him at his very best. Scott Horstemeyer of Thomas Horstemeyer gets so embedded in his clients’ businesses that he can field questions that would normally stump in-house counsel. Duane Morris’s Norwood Jameson considers cases from all angles before coming up with a plan; cookie-cutter solutions are anathema to him. Having served as senior vice president at GlaxoSmithKline, Sherry M Knowles of Knowles IP Strategies has a lock on the pharmaceutical industry. An intimate understanding of its unique pressure points allows her to successfully prosecute patents in situations where other patent attorneys would struggle. Taylor English Duma’s Jeffrey Kuester demonstrates his strategic and commercial savvy every day in his drafting of first-class applications. Thanks to the years he spent working as an electrical design engineer, Daniel McClure at McClure Qualey & Rodack has a complete command of digital audio issues. Financial technology disputes weigh heavily in the workload of Robin McGrath at Duane Morris. “She’s an extremely impressive lawyer – very thoughtful and great in court.” Biotechnology whizz Patrea Pabst of Pabst Patent Group debuts in the IAM Patent 1000 for 2018 due to the fantastic work she has done with universities and early-stage initiatives. DLA Piper’s Steven Park excels in post-grant proceedings; clients cherish his pragmatism and commerciality. The experience that Cynthia Parks of Parks IP Law gained as an in-house attorney at Cingular Wireless (now AT&T) continues to serve her well; her reports are crisp and clear, with complex legal concepts conveyed cogently and concisely. BakerHostetler’s Katrina Quicker is a pharmaceutical virtuoso who relishes a bet-the-farm battle. Former Finnegan lawyer Roger Taylor now runs his own eponymous firm. He is a respected counsellor around IP litigation and transactional matters. Jeffrey Toney is an anchor of the litigation practice at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman; he knows how to get judges on his wavelength. Tim Tingkang Xia of Locke Lord would make an excellent ally for any rights holder wanting to build a robust patent portfolio. He has particular experience supporting Chinese clients entering the US market.
Register for more free content
- Read more IAM blogs and articles
- Receive the editor's weekly review by email